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Parliament wants review of ban on one year certificates

By Moses Mulondo, Moses Walubiri

Added 18th July 2017 06:04 PM

MPs including the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga argued that ban was ill advised


Members of Parliament have overwhelmingly opposed the recent ban of one year education certificates.

The MPs were on Thursday responding to the State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde, who made attempts to justify the ban arguing it followed an opinion from the Solicitor General.

The MPs including the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga argued that ban was made before consulting stakeholders and that it was ill advised.

“All universities have a one year course. A person can upgrade from a one year certificate and even reach PHD. If that decision is not reversed some people will take government to court," said David Abala.

Sseninde explained that the ban did not stop one year certificates but it stopped using one year certificates is an equivalent for 'A' level.

"Those who want will be free to do one year certificates but they will not be able to use them for upgrading/progressing for higher studies," she explained.

But her explanations seemed to be building castles in the air as several MPs protested the decision arguing it is not necessary.

Kadaga quickly countered her argument saying, “I think the confusion is on equating. It is not about equating. The concern is on the fate of those doing one year certificates.

Steven Mukitale who had prompted the minister's response after raising it as an issue of national importance, proposed that the ministers goes back and prepares a better explanation.

"For a country with a high dropout rate and where government is emphasizing vocational education, it is a contradiction to ban one year certificates. The president has been promoting skilling Uganda," Mukitale argued.

Attempting to help Sseninde, the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana said, “What the minister is saying is that for purposes of higher education, if you undertake a certificate of one year, you don't qualify for higher education."

Sseninde was not able to answer some of the questions put to her like basis for the solicitor general's opinion that led to the ban and promised to get back to the house with a detailed response containing all the answers the MPs wanted.

She promised that the ministry would make consultations to know what to do about the various concerns.

This prompted Kadaga to comment saying, "So, you took a decision without knowing what to do. Now you are planning. You did not involve us"

Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga said, "The minister is communicating a policy shift on the floor of parliament. It is unthinkable. Education development is a consultative process. Go back and consult stakeholders in education before you go for a policy shift."

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